- The definition of a spruce is a type of evergreen tree from the pine family.
An example of a spruce is a tree with slender needles that drops cones.
- Spruce means to make neat and tidy.
An example of spruce is turning a sloppy person into a clean and stylish person; to spruce up.
- any of a genus (Picea) of evergreen trees of the pine family, having slender needles that are rhombic in cross section
- the soft, light wood of any of these trees
- any of several evergreen trees, as the Douglas fir, resembling the spruces
Origin of spruceMiddle English Spruce, for Pruce, Prussia from Old French from Medieval Latin Prussia: probably because the tree was first known as a native of Prussia
Origin of sprucefrom Middle English Spruce (see spruce), especially in the phrase Spruce leather, fine leather imported from Prussia
transitive verbspruced, spruc′ing
- a. Any of various coniferous evergreen trees of the genus Picea, having flattened or four-angled needlelike leaves, a conic shape, pendulous cones, and soft wood often used for paper pulp.b. Any of various similar or related trees.c. The wood of any of these trees.
- A grayish green to dark greenish black.
Origin of spruceShort for obsolete Spruce fir Prussian fir from Middle English Spruce Prussia alteration of Pruce from Anglo-Norman Pruz from Medieval LatinPrussia
verbspruced, spruc·ing, spruc·es
Origin of sprucePerhaps from obsolete spruce leather Prussian leather from Middle EnglishSpruce , Prussia ; see spruce 1.
(usually uncountable, plural spruces)
(comparative sprucer, superlative sprucest)
(third-person singular simple present spruces, present participle sprucing, simple past and past participle spruced)
- (usually with up) To arrange neatly; tidy up.
- (usually with up)) To make oneself spruce (neat and elegant in appearance).
- To tease.
From Middle English, an alteration of Pruce (“Prussia"), from new Latin, from a Baltic language, probably Old Prussian; for more, see Prussia. Spruce, spruse (1412), and Sprws (1378) were terms for commodities brought to England by Hanseatic merchants (beer, wood, leather). The tree with this name was also believed to have been native to Prussia. The adjective and verb senses ("trim, neat" and "to make trim, neat") are attested from 1594, and originate with spruce leather (1466), which was used to make a popular style of jerkins in the 1400s that was considered smart-looking.
- (obsolete) Prussia.
Alteration of Pruce.